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"Cleaned Up Rugged" Chinos or Work-Appropriate Pants?

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    "Cleaned Up Rugged" Chinos or Work-Appropriate Pants?

    I've been trying to figure out some pants for work for a long time and am getting increasingly frustrated. Here's what I'm looking for:

    - I'm a Colorado guy, and the mountains and the desert is my home. I kind of like to reflect that in my style of dress, which usually has a bit of a rugged vibe but is cleaned up a bit. I'm an environmental scientist, and I also need to be able to wear these inside and out, both at a desk and out in the field.

    - I'm reasonably athletic and fit - 6'0, 176lb, hiker legs.

    - I currently work on an Air Force base where the style of dress is either uniforms or Middle American Middle Aged Man Bare Minimum. I'd like to represent myself better than that, but this is a casual, casual workplace. 5-pocket style pants would not be out of place here in the slightest. If it's not denim and looks decent, it flies.

    - I absolutely hate tapered legs on pants, so I want a straight leg that's not skinny. I don't want a relaxed fit at all, but it does need to fit an athletic leg.

    - I wear Clarks desert boots a lot. A leg opening of reasonable size is probably best. I also like a fairly deep break.

    - I'm looking to spend no more than $90 per pair, and $75 would be preferable.

    I'm at my wits' end. Anybody got some sterling suggestions? Bonobos fit reasonably well, but there's no middle ground between a silly-looking boot cut and a fairly slim straight leg that looks odd over desert boots.

    #2
    Thanks for starting this thread, as I'm in a very similar situation! I'm also an environmental scientist (wildlife biologist), am 6'1 with athletic legs (although my torso isn't all that athletic ;-) and have had a helluva time finding "not too rugged but not too fancy" chinos, as well. I have a pair of Banana Republic Emerson chinos that fit really well but am finding that they're a tad too dressy for my taste. I don't have any experience with them, but am guessing that someone is going to recommend Bill's Khakis (M3 or similar), although they're a bit more expensive than we're looking to spend. I'm all ears for what others suggest.

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      #3
      Thanks for starting this thread, as I'm in a very similar situation! I'm also an environmental scientist (wildlife biologist), am 6'1 with athletic legs (although my torso isn't all that athletic ;-) and have had a helluva time finding "not too rugged but not too fancy" chinos, as well. I have a pair of Banana Republic Emerson chinos that fit really well but am finding that they're a tad too dressy for my taste. I don't have any experience with them, but am guessing that someone is going to recommend Bill's Khakis (M3 or similar), although they're a bit more expensive than we're looking to spend. I'm all ears for what others suggest.

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        #4
        My personal tastes run similar to yours (cleaned up rugged), and I have had limited luck finding the right pants.

        I have "settled" on LL Bean Double L Chinos. There are two major cons, and possibly deal-breakers. One, some of them come from with a permanent crease on the front, despite being non-pleated. Two, they have relaxed fit and normal fit, and no slim fit option.

        There is a taper to the leg, but since they aren't slim fit, the leg opening is decently wide. I wear boots almost every day and no issues.

        The pros: They are $39.99, regular priced. They are wrinkle-free (I travel a lot, but even when I'm not, this is nice). I have never damaged a pair, and I have spent a lot of hours climbing around antenna fields and military bases in 3rd world countries.

        I've been wearing them for about three years (only replaced the first pairs I bought because I lost weight and they didn't fit). In that time, I've tried Dockers, BR, and other brands, and always come back to these. I've got my fingers crossed that someone has a better suggestion for you, since the permanent crease bothers me, but if you have an LL Bean in your area, may be worth taking a look.

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          #5
          What about Dockers 5-pocket khakis:

          http://us.dockers.com/product/index....entPage=family

          I don't have these but I've seen them in the store. I like their straight fit (D2). It's reasonably trim but not skinny. These 5-pockets have rivets, which give a bit of a rugged look.

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            #6
            What you describe from Bonobos is their Slim Straight Leg, but they also offer a regular Straight Leg that has a wider opening at the bottom. I personally think that their Chinos are the best fitting out there. I like their Slim Straight myself because I find that their regular Straight Leg is too wide at the bottom but they could work for you.

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              #7
              I like the JCrew Factory straight leg chinos for times when I don't want to go for more casual. They have a washed look to them and the material is a bit thicker than my other chinos.

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                #8
                Bonobos. I'm 6'1" 180# with hiker legs, and their Straight Fit go from my government office to the trail without missing a beat. Run a little short, so if you want a real break size up on the length. Lots of colors, though I've stuck to the Graham Slackers for a basic dark khaki and wore them so much I bought two pairs.

                And if I convince you to try them, let me know and I'll give you my referral code for a discount!

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by cjl1978 View Post
                  Bonobos. I'm 6'1" 180# with hiker legs, and their Straight Fit go from my government office to the trail without missing a beat. Run a little short, so if you want a real break size up on the length. Lots of colors, though I've stuck to the Graham Slackers for a basic dark khaki and wore them so much I bought two pairs.

                  And if I convince you to try them, let me know and I'll give you my referral code for a discount!
                  I actually picked up a few pair on their black friday sale, and they got to me last night. And...they fit perfectly over desert boots. SCORE. I was honestly not expecting them to work well, but I sized down in the waist and got the long inseam compared to the Bonobos I'd tried earlier and somehow it all just fell into place. The "Congos" light olive green is pretty awesome.

                  I'll probably still keep a pair of Mountain Khakis in my cube to throw on if I'm gonna be doing some serious outside work, but they'll do nicely.

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                    #10
                    I just got my Bonobos washed chinos in yesterday as well. The guy on the phone was right about sizing down 1" in the waist. I'm a 32/30 but a 31/30 fit perfectly. I got the khakis and the navy. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep the navy or return it for a different color. Any thoughts on what would be the most versatile colors from their washed chinos line?

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                      #11
                      @Vicious - I think the Graham Slackers are probably their most versatile color. I like it better than the regular Khaki color. I also own the Navy and I like them a lot. My next purchase will be the Congo color.

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                        #12
                        vicious- the boring colors are the most versatile: gray, navy, khaki. But since most of us have those I bought the rustic brick, and cobalt blue from their slim line. That said I'm not wearing these to work lol, so it's really up to the individual.

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                          #13
                          Have you thought about Outlier Nyco chinos? A little on the expensive side at $98, but ALMOST within your budget - and the combination of rugged/durable and cleaned up seems to fit your requirements perfectly. Here's a write-up from Valet Mag: http://www.valetmag.com/personal-sho...ino-092812.php

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Juan View Post
                            @Vicious - I think the Graham Slackers are probably their most versatile color. I like it better than the regular Khaki color. I also own the Navy and I like them a lot. My next purchase will be the Congo color.
                            Originally posted by goterps View Post
                            vicious- the boring colors are the most versatile: gray, navy, khaki. But since most of us have those I bought the rustic brick, and cobalt blue from their slim line. That said I'm not wearing these to work lol, so it's really up to the individual.
                            Thanks for the recommendations. Since I have a pair of BR Gavins in a darker khaki, I opted for the traditional khaki from Bonobos. Otherwise I definitely would have gone for the Graham crackers. I guess I'll keep the navy then and look for the greys next year when they're on sale. I didn't see the straight grey ones in stock this time around.

                            They also have the Travel jeans which everyone is saying are super comfortable. I was thinking of picking up a pair but couldn't decide on a color there either.

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                              #15
                              I just got their Mocha Chinos (!) and I'm really digging the deep brown. It's great for the Fall and replaces a not-at-all-slim-fitting pair of John W. Nordstrom pleated chinos that I can finally donate.

                              I also got the Chino Grigios and I'm digging that color too. Graham Slackers, Grey Dog, and Jet Blues round out my collection.

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